Bubble-Blowing Drones May One Day Aid Artificial Pollination

Drones that blow pollen-laden bubbles onto blossoms could someday help farmers pollinate their crops.

Rather than relying on bees and other pollinating insects – which are dwindling worldwide as a result of climate change, pesticide use and other factors – farmers can spray or swab pollen onto crops themselves. But machine-blown plumes can waste many grains of pollen, and manually brushing pollen onto plants is labor-intensive.

Materials chemist Eijiro Miyako of the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Nomi imagines outsourcing pollination to automatous drones that deliver pollen grains to individual flowers. Read more…